LONDON (AFP): Novak Djokovic reached his 12th Wimbledon semi-final and record-equalling 46th at the Grand Slams with a four-set victory over Andrey Rublev on Tuesday.
The Serb, chasing an eighth title at the All England Club and 24th career major, came through 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 and will face Italy‘s Jannik Sinner for a place in the final.
Djokovic has now reached as many semi-finals at the Slams as the retired Roger Federer.
The 36-year-old was playing in his 400th Grand Slam match and insisted he was enjoying being the man to beat.
“I love it. Any player wants to be in the position where all the other players want to beat you,” he said after preserving his record of not being defeated on Centre Court since 2013.
“The pressure never goes away every time I come on court.
“They want to get a scalp and the win — but it ain’t happening!”
Rublev, the world number seven, has now lost all eight quarter-finals he has played at the majors.
However, he enjoyed a promising start against a player who allowed him just seven games when they met at the same stage of the Australian Open in January.
Djokovic saw three break points come and go in the first set and was made to pay when Rublev broke for a 5-4 lead.
The 25-year-old Russian claimed the opener in the next game when Djokovic netted a service return.
That was the second set dropped by Djokovic at Wimbledon this year and he was suitably fired up in response.
He raced to a 5-0 lead in the second set, allowing Rublev just six points in that stretch, before going on to level the quarter-final.
In the third set, Djokovic saved two break points in the second game, broke in the fifth and moved to a two sets to one lead in the 10th game.
It was not a smooth conversion, however, with the champion needing five set points to finish the job while at the same time saving three break points.
The outcome was inevitable as he broke for a 2-1 lead in the fourth before wrapping up the match having fired 42 winners past Rublev.